Illinois, California declare states of emergency over monkeypox outbreak

Monkeypox vaccine site.
(Image credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Democratic Govs. Gavin Newsom of California and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois on Monday both declared states of emergency over monkeypox, as the latest virus of note continues to spread nationwide, CNN reports.

New York was the first state to declare a state of emergency, having done so on Friday, per The New York Times. California then followed Illinois on Monday.

An emergency declaration allows the state to access extra resources — like additional medical services personnel and vaccines — as well as better streamline its public health response.

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California is "working urgently" to "slow the spread of monkeypox" by "leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing, and community partnerships" that were strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic, Newsom wrote in a statement, per CNN.

Pritzker, meanwhile, said he was declaring a state of emergency to "expand the resources and coordination efforts of state agencies in responding to, treating, and preventing the spread of [monkeypox]."

Monkeypox is a smallpox-like virus that often causes pimple-esque pox on the skin, as well as "flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches, muscle aches, chills and respiratory symptoms," CNN writes. It spreads via close and typically skin-to-skin contact. Approximately 6,000 cases have been reported nationwide since May, and almost half of them have been in California, Illinois, and New York, the Times reports.

Men who have sex with men comprise roughly 99 percent of cases, but health officials have stressed that the "virus can spread to anyone who has prolonged skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the rash," the Times adds.

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